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Four shouts in four days – Appledore RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Appledore RNLI has just responded to four shouts in the last four days, including one in the midst of Storm Betty.

RNLI/Appledore RNLI picture library

Appledore RNLI's all-weather lifeboat Mollie Hunt
On Thursday 17 August the volunteer crew were paged at 1.20 pm with a request to launch the lifeboat to help a 20 ft. motorboat south of Croyde with two people on board. Unsure about local conditions and tide depths through the Bar they requested help to come back into the Estuary. The inshore lifeboat, Glanely, was launched to assist.

The next day, Friday18 August, at 8.40 in the evening, Falmouth Coastguard requested the help of Appledore’s all-weather Tamar Lifeboat, Molly Hunt, to respond to a mayday from a yacht which had lost both sails and steering during Storm Betty, and required immediate assistance. The yacht was approximately 30 miles south west off St Ann’s Head near Milford Haven and a similar distance North West of Hartland. Angle Lifeboat was also tasked but was attending to another shout so it was understood would be slightly delayed. Due to the storm conditions and severity of the yachts distress, a Coastguard Rescue Helicopter from Newquay was also tasked. The winds were reported up to Force 10 with winds gusting 56kts and 6 metre seas.

Angle was the first lifeboat on scene at the yacht and in their words: ‘…after assessing the situation, the crew passed a tow and began the long journey back towards Milford Haven. At this point Appledore Lifeboat was stood down, but the helicopter continued to shadow the tow for a brief while before standing down.

Following a near six hour tow in horrendous conditions, where the crew had to reset the tow on three occasions the lifeboat and casualty vessel finally arrived at the safety of Hobbs Point and the yacht and its relieved crew were secured alongside by 4:30am this morning.’

Once stood down, Appledore’s lifeboat returned to station driving straight into the face of the South East wind, driving rain and head on rough seas, in pitch darkness, arriving back around 11.15 pm.

Just before 2.30 the following afternoon, Saturday 19 August, Falmouth Coastguard again requested the help of Appledore RNLI volunteers. This time to help a woman and her young daughter who were reported to be stranded with a white heavy Jet Ski on the Bideford Bar at low water. Once it was ascertained that the casualties were on the bank by the outer pulley buoy, the boarding boat was launched and the mother and daughter brought back to safety. The owner of the Jet Ski was taken to the sand bank where the Jet Ski had run aground for him to await the turn of the tide and recover his jet ski.

Then at 1.00 pm lunchtime on Sunday 20 August both the boarding boat and inshore lifeboat were tasked to help with a multi-agency search and rescue near the estuary mouth between Greysands and the Bar Buoy. Both boats returned to station just over an hour later in time for the volunteers to take part in Appledore Carnival.

Duty Coxswain, Gary Stanbury, says: ‘Please, if you are going on the water, respect the tides and weather conditions. Know where you are going, look at the maritime charts and take head of local knowledge. Wear Lifejackets or appropriate buoyancy aids and have a means of calling for help, either by calling 999 and asking for the Coastguard using a phone kept in a waterproof bag or on Channel 16 using a VHF radio’.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.